Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Still Here!

Just a quick blurb to say that we're still here!  We had a lot of wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy, seeing as we're not too far off the coast of VA, but no major damage and we didn't lose power.  My father-in-law weathered the storm (no pun intended) with us, arriving from NY on Friday just before the rain started rolling in. He just left this morning and will be checking out the damage later today.  We're hoping everything with his house is just fine.  My parents in OH also experienced a lot of high winds and rain from Sandy, but they're doing fine as well.  A few of my friends were displaced because of flooding, but everyone is alright, and for that I'm extremely grateful.  I don't have any pictures from the storm, but I'll be posting pics later of some of our weekend activities. Nothing like a hurricane to keep you inside for some family time!


Saturday, October 20, 2012


This weekend was our follow-up of last weekend's apple adventure.  It's time to make applesauce!  This year's adventure was not nearly as arduous as the previous year.  We only canned 27 quarts and two pints this year (as opposed to 64 quarts and 30-something pints last time).  I have to say, the kitchen in our new house is much more conducive to this whole process. My stove works a lot better--all four burners function, imagine that!  There's a lot more space too, so H1 and I are not tripping over each other constantly while we're working.

Apple chopping station

Yummy applesauce

My wonderful squeezo 

It took us around 6 hours to complete everything this afternoon.  I have to say that the results are quite delicious!  I'm looking forward to seeing H4's reaction in a few months when she gets to taste it. H3 has always loved homemade applesauce.  It was a fun day for all of us.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Cookies

We got a package in the mail a couple days ago from my mom, and inside was a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter. Seeing as I already had a leaf-shaped cutter and an acorn-shaped cutter, there was only one thing to do: bake sugar cookies!  We even tinted the dough orange.

Flour on the nose!

Freshly baked cookies.  Mmmmm.

Now with frosting.

A few of the cookies, freshly frosted.

It's Fall!!!!!!!!!!  My favorite season!  Bring on the baking!


Camping, Hiking, and Apple Picking

Each Fall our family goes camping and apple picking in the mountains of Virginia, and call me crazy, but I decided that this year would not be an exception. This past Saturday we packed up the car and off we went!

H3 with her leaf bouquet and H4 in her little bed

 All snuggly

Found a big rock by the river

Hiking Crabtree Falls

Water and snuggle break

Queen of the rock!

Apple picking at Dickie Brothers Apple Orchard, one of my favorite places. The people are so friendly, the prices are good, and the scenery is gorgeous.

View of part of the orchard

Punkin' Pickin'

Playing the travel guitar at the campsite

View from around the campgrounds.  The campground is on a river, so that's the background music as you sleep at night. It's owned by a Christian family and one of my favorite places in Virginia!

I'm so thankful that our family is able to take this trip each year.  I come back to lots of laundry, yes, but I also come back refreshed and encouraged by the time we spend together!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things I'm Learning From My Daughters

  • Take time to sit and look out the window. There's really a lot to see out there, and I might miss the rainbow if I'm buried under a pile of laundry.
  • A bouquet of fall leaves can be very exciting.
  • Squeal with joy in a pumpkin patch
  • Most of the bad things about today will be forgotten when the sun rises tomorrow, and if they aren't, chances are they will heal quickly or get washed in a load of laundry.
  • Sit and read a book occasionally (while kids are awake, not asleep). Not only is it entertaining, but it provides a moment of quiet.
  • Change your perspective.  Life looks really different lying on your back.
  • Sing random songs at the top of your lungs throughout the day. Why can't life be a musical?
  • Dandelion poofs were made to be picked and blown.
  • Ceiling fans can be hypnotic.
  • Don't cry over spilled popcorn.
  • Remember to use your imagination.
  • Laugh more. Some of my favorite moments in the day involve giggles.
  • The housework will always be here and there will always be something to clean, but they can wait. I blink and my girls are growing up, so I need to take time for what's important. If my house is less than perfect, that's ok. My children will most likely not remember that there was a dust bunny or two floating around, but they will remember the time that I take to be involved with them. I'm a type-A, OCD personality, so this one is a challenge for me.
  • Confronting my areas of weakness and asking God to help me overcome them is vital. I do not want my children falling victim to my same insecurities.
  • Each day is new and should be greeted with joy.
  • It is never too early in the morning to smile or laugh.
There's a lot more that could go on that list, but those are my thoughts over the last couple weeks.


Friday, October 12, 2012

There's A Me!

Yesterday I was sitting in the living room when I heard H4 call me from the bathroom.  She asked me to come in, and I figured she needed help.  When I walked in, she said, very excitedly, "Mommy, there's a me!"  I was confused at first, so I asked her to repeat herself.  She said the exact same thing, and pointed to the shower curtain.  My shower curtain has different Bible verses on it, and I realized that she must be pointing to a letter. "Oh, are you saying you found an 'e'?", I asked her.  "No, Mommy, it's a me!" She then pointed to a specific word on the curtain. Sure enough, it was "me".  I've taught her a few sight words, but that wasn't one of them!  I was certainly caught off guard, but very proud of my little girl. She was certainly proud of herself! (Picture lots of enthusiasm.)

Joshua 24:15 "....But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

There's a "me"!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Growing Pains

In life, some periods are more stagnant and some require stretching and growing pains.  A couple years ago, following our two miscarriages, was a period of some of my greatest emotional pain.  At the same time, it was also one of those times in my life where I learned what desperation really is.  I was desperate for God and desperate for His healing.  I was in so much pain and couldn't see my way through to even put one foot in front of the other for simple things, and I knew that my only chance of recovery was hiding in Christ.

The last couple weeks have begun another period of painful stretching.  Some of it is the practical kind, like learning the logistics of two children.  I can't lie. I frequently feel lost when it comes to being a mother.  I love my girls and try hard to do what's best for them, but some days I just don't know.  It's a continual need to seek God's guidance in how I am to raise them.  H1 is a bundle of challenging energy, and add in her adorable and busy little sister, it's turned into a real juggling act. The two of them really know how to play off of each other!  Their energy has kept me in a pretty much constant state of exhaustion, which brings me to the rest of that painful stretching.

A few weeks ago I began attending a Breaking Free Bible study at my church.  Somehow or the other, I managed to get this far in life without working my way through a Beth Moore Bible study (and considering I have not only grown up in the church but also attended Liberty, which uses her curriculum in a lot of things, that's pretty impressive).  It would figure that God would decide that one of the most physically exhausting times of my life is the time He would choose to deal with one of my greatest areas of weakness.  There's no getting around it. I have a temper, and it's a bad one.  Anyone who has known me long has most likely seen at least a glimpse of it.  My dad would tell you that I have an "intense" personality anyways, and the temper on top of it makes it interesting.  I fly off the handle easily.  I've struggled with this for as long as I can remember. I don't remember a time where it hasn't been an issue for me.  Now, I feel like God is telling me that this has to be dealt with.  So step by step, day by day, moment by moment, that ball has begun to roll. It hurts. I'm having to confront issues that are really uncomfortable, but I know I have to continue.  Working through this is something that my family needs me to do, and God has made that very clear.

Growing pains.  It's a part of maturing, right?  Deep breath.  Here we go.


State Fair and Leaf Painting

Our family does not visit the state fair every year, but once every couple years we do make an effort to attend and see what they have to offer. This year was a bit smaller than years past, but we still had a wonderful time. A fabulous petting "zoo" welcomed us at the gate.  There were baby goats, piglets, yaks, lambs, alpacas, and even a water buffalo. H3 was so excited and went from pen to pen, wanting to feed and pet everything!

Auntie Amber came with us too.

Pony ride!

H3 slid down this huge slide with Daddy and Auntie Amber while I hung out with H4.

We stayed at the fair for most of the day. I bought enough tickets to ride the Ferris wheel once with my family, but H1 and H3 got wrist bands and rode lots of rides together, along with Amber. I'm so glad we all went. It was a wonderful day!

I saw a leaf painting project on Pinterest and decided to check it out with H3.  I thought this blog had some great ideas, so we joined in their craft ideas.  H3 really enjoyed them for the most part. She's not too keen on getting her fingers dirty, but the project held her attention long enough to finish!

In the past week our school progress has been a bit slower.  Between the allergies and colds running through our house and H4 still waking up a couple times per get the idea.  H3 has still been doing very well and she really enjoys our school activities.  She has been taking more interest in learning to write her letters, which has been exciting for me. I'm so glad that we're moving forward in this area!